A few years ago, in the Tour d’Afrique, I was surprised to see the man who was hit by a truck and had his elbow bone jutting out, insisting on marking the ground where the accident took place so he could come back and resume from that exact point. It’s hard to understand this. Is this madness or insanity? Moral principle or discipline?

As I had to save the few days remaining on my Schengen visa, I had to hop on the train from Paris to Bordeaux. Though the situation was understandable, I still felt unsatisfied with my decision. I began to understand that man who wanted the ground to be marked. 

And so Paris falls back rather quickly, that expensive city beloved by tourists, drawing people to itself with its architecture, food, and wines. I was lucky to be hosted by Angelica and Eric, a half Tanzanian, half-French family. It was such a great taste of home away from home. I am thankful to them for facilitating the interviews and meetings with France 24.

Bordeaux

In Bordeaux, the weather changed dramatically. The nights and mornings are not as cold as they were further north, making it hard to gain momentum during the day. I managed to get out of the tent between 8:30 and 9:00 am in the north, pick up my cycling speed around 1:00 pm, and then pedal till 9:00 pm. The first night in Bordeaux, I hung my hammock in the urban park and rose with the sun at 7:00 am. The morning was clear with fresh air, which was quite energizing.

There was a long cycling path that wandered into a pine forest and then a small beach town. Though it was hot, the ocean breeze made it easier. The blue sky and the crystal-clear ocean made cycling here an exceptional experience after a long time in crowded cities.

I came across a long dune and many tourists at a certain point, so I decided to lock the bike at a pine tree and hike up the dune. My effort was rewarded with a stunning view of the ocean and sandy beaches. The coast seems wild here, but there are many caravan camps full of tourists. To find a place to camp, I just had to carry my panniers and bike onto the sand. There was an amazing view of the sunset and a clear night sky at the beach – a rare Europe view so far.